The desire to travel is ever-present for many of us, but the way we travel has certainly changed in recent years. Instead of booking a stay in a hotel, many Americans opt to stay in a short-term rental — and, of course, Airbnb has dominated that sphere in recent years. After all, the average sales price for condos in Manhattan reached $1.9 million in 2017, but if you reserve that same condo for a night or two, you can suddenly gain access to accommodations that are far more luxurious than you might’ve otherwise been able to afford.
What’s more, it may be possible to own a home in a more desirable (and more expensive) area if you’re able to offset your expenses by becoming an Airbnb host. But how can you be sure that this side hustle will be a profitable one for you? These tips can provide you with some much-deserved financial freedom.
Expect a Time Commitment
When you’re a landlord, you don’t necessarily have to take on the little things. Since 52% of urban respondents say having green spaces are features they’d like to see more of in cities, landlords might invest in some landscaping from time to time. But they’re usually contacted for major issues, rather than minor inconveniences or tidying up. If you want to run a successful Airbnb, you won’t have that kind of freedom. You’ll need to make yourself available to guests who need questions answered and to ensure the space is spotless.
At a minimum, you’ll need to take on these responsibilities between guest stays, but you may also need to provide assistance on a near daily basis. You’ll need to fix even little issues and replace items as they get worn down. What’s more, your customer service needs to be stellar if you want to stand out. Your ability to thrive on the platform will depend on your reviews, so going above and beyond is pretty crucial.
Not only do 91% of today’s consumers fail to remember the last time they made a purchase without reading online reviews first, but Airbnb guests depend on what’s already been said about others’ experience at your property to determine whether they should book a stay. So if you want to ensure you’ve got a consistent stream of guests staying with you, you need to be prepared to put in the time and the effort.
Be Strategic With Your Listing
In order to make your Airbnb listing nearly irresistible to travelers, you’ll need to get creative with how you market your property. That means you’ll want to be selective with your keyword usage, take high-quality images, and think very carefully about your prices. Some people suggest you start off by giving your first guests a discount or at least pricing your property below what it’s worth to ensure your first reviews are overwhelmingly positive. If the space is a lower price when you begin, it’ll likely be seen by more people and can potentially yield you with more bookings.
You can then increase your prices as your property increases in popularity. You should also consider requiring a stay of at least two nights to ensure the effort you put into cleaning and maintenance is worth it. Offering a flexible check-in and check-out time can be a real perk for guests, as well. Finally, don’t ever be misleading in your listing; a guest might actually book because of your property’s eccentricities, but they probably won’t appreciate feeling like they weren’t given all the information they needed to make the right decision upfront.
Invest in Extra Details
In addition to investing your effort into ongoing maintenance and customer service, going the extra mile with the little things will likely pay off. One study found that 83% of travelers say they’d choose an allergy friendly room if they had the option, so supplying an air purifier or hypoallergenic linens could be a real selling point or unexpected perk.
Providing easy access to free WiFi, leaving a list of restaurants and attractions in your area, and offering complimentary snacks and toiletries will make your guests’ experience that much more special. Be sure to have extra pillows, blankets, and coffee on-hand, too.
If you can meet them upon their arrival and help them with their bags, even better. Your guests will definitely notice and will likely reward you with a glowing review — which will ultimately allow you to continue booking more stays and making more money on the platform.
Taking on any kind of side hustle certainly isn’t for the weak, but it can be highly rewarding if you do it the right way. Should you decide to rent out a spare room or an entire property on Airbnb, these tips can ensure your ongoing success.